Milk Run in Idaho by Ben Garlow

Trying to get to West Yellowstone for work, I caught a train on a milk run out of Twin Falls up to Rexburg, Idaho; riding with the rail men in the wooden caboose, a pot belly stove fired up with coal to take the chill off the 5 a.m. morning. About every two to three miles the train would stop where dirt roads crossed the tracks, and we would drop off 10 gallon, mushroom-top, metal milk jugs weighing about 80 pounds each, and pick up the empties. I never saw anybody, but helping out paid for my train ride. From Rexburg it was about a ½ hour bus ride up to West Yellowstone, but today there were no buses running. Sitting at the train station mulling over my situation I noticed a green and white Chevy going up the street to its end, turns around, comes back to the station, and in a swirl of dust goes back up the …Read More

Short Shorts…(words, not lingerie folks!) by Ben Garlow

Dr. Paine, His Bagpipe and Neil Young Years ago, when I was living on Neil Young’s Broken Arrow ranch, he turned me onto a San Francisco dentist, Dr. Rodney Paine. To relax me, and I assume his other patients, he would play his bagpipe before administering his special cocktail of narcotics into my receptive body. Later in our relationship he would come out to the ranch, and walk the hills at sunset playing his bagpipe. Soon after, his office was closed down, and he disappeared. Excerpt from “Short tidbits, long memories” Ben Garlow 2008 copyright John Steinbeck and Otter Years ago I was on a literary pilgrimage to visit the areas my hero, John Steinbeck, wrote about. It was early morning, misty and cool, as I sat, legs dangling from the wharf called Cannery Row. I spotted, below me, an otter swimming on its back. On its stomach was an abalone shell, and he beat it rhythmically with a sharp …Read More

Blue Moon by Verna Wilder

In the middle of the night she enters the grocery store from the dark parking lot, blinking the light from her eyes, her lids coming down slowly, leaving grocery images on the backside of her eyelids:  red Quaker Oats bins with the smiling man in the black hat, apples mounded to pyramids, coffee cans green and red like Christmas, detergent boxes in a chorus line of cleanliness.  Then she opens her eyes, opens her coat slowly, button by button, as if for a lover who will take her with gentle, loving licks.  She pulls a cart from its ugly coupling, slings her worn grey purse into the child carrier, and wobbles past the produce, squeezing and pinching and palming the fruit, raising an apple to her face to breathe in a Washington state summer with her family in 1952.  In those days everybody liked Ike and her parents danced together at their own party to “Picnic,” her favorite song, and …Read More

The Last Road by Verna Wilder

I am 16 and driving fast down a long, straight stretch of road leading from one nowhere to another, the road an abandoned ribbon of gradual dips and rises, trees crowding in from either side, a strip of night sky illuminated by moonlight, and I can see how, at this time of night, and at this speed, and with the wind rushing past like a huge loping animal, I can see how the Trans Am leapt the road and flew like a fast-pitch baseball right through the buckeye tree, then cottonwood and ash, the car leaping and rolling long after Bobby Lee has been flung from the flying steel, long after his neck snapped and his wide eyes saw moonlight and leaves and then nothing at all, the car flipping, tires thrown wild, bent fender and broken window glass, tail light and hub caps, the disco music thumping, radio intact long past Bobby Lee’s ability to hear it. Bobby Lee, …Read More

4 Pound Boyfriend by Niya C. Sisk

I have this rabbit. He thinks he’s my boyfriend. He weighs 4 lbs. When I had a male friend over last week, I tried to introduce the two of them. Dakota, the rabbit put his right ear over his eye. My friend said, “I guess male bonding is out of the question.” The other day I put my yoga mat out. As I leaned over to do downward dog, Dakota, just a few feet away on his green blanket hiked his little butt up in the air and stretched his little buff colored front paws forward as far as they would go in the same position. He looked at me out of the corner of eye as he gave a yawn, like, “Is this all you got?” “No way! You’ve got to be joking.” I decided this didn’t happen, and then lay down for a spinal twist. He, flopped his body down, rolled side to side and stopped in the …Read More